With Oktoberfest and Halloween behind us — the unofficial starting points of the annual eating season — a big trouble looms for many of us. It seems no matter how much we may try to walk, run, cycle or skate in an attempt to offset the extra calories we invariably add to our diets, it’s never enough to stave off extra pounds. But since most of us will at least try to keep our weight under control, I thought I’d pass along a number of local opportunities to be active in the weeks ahead. Here I offer some hope of reducing the guilt when giving into the many holiday temptations we’ll all be facing.
Now in its 35th year,Fort Myers Track Club’s Turkey Trot 5K(ftmyerstrackclub.com) is a Thanksgiving Day tradition that starts and finishes at Cape Coral Hospital. Last year, almost 2,000 runners and walkers completed the race. No matter what your pace, you’ll never be alone on the course. It’s over well before even the earliest dining times or football games kick-offs so it can be part of anyone’s holiday tradition. FGCU is also hosting its own Thanksgiving Day event:The Gobbler 5K(thegobbler5k.com). For those living in Naples, the Gulf Coast Runners have their ownTurkey Trot 5K(gcrunner.org) on Thanksgiving morning, staged from Cambier Pi Park.
There are plenty of events in the coming weeks to help you work off the extra holiday calories.COURTE Yet another Thanksgiving morning race happens in Naples: theGobble Gobble 4-Miler(gobblegobblefourmiler.com) will take place from Venetian Village. With all these opportunities to run or walk before the eating begins there’s little excuse to preemptively burn-off turkey and pumpkin pie calories.
For those looking for a cycling event, theIron Joe Turkey Ride(naplespathways.org) happens on the Sunday after the holiday, Nov. 30, from the Pavilion Shopping Center in Naples. That’s also a good opportunity to get ready for Cape Coral’sTour de Cape(tourdecape.net), one of our area’s most popular rides, with distances from 15 to 100 miles. Takes place on Sunday, Jan. 17.
The following weekend begins with the 36th annualRiver Run 10K & 2-Mile Fun Run/Walk(ftmyerstrackclub.com) on Saturday, Dec. 6. Fort Myers’ oldest race stages from Centennial Park and crosses both bridges. The next day, on Sunday, Dec. 7, you can choose to ride up to 100-miles or run either a half marathon or 5K atEveryone Rides / Everyone Runs(everyonerides.org). JetBlue Park is the location of the start and finish lines as well as an expo. The running courses and shorter distance cycling options wind through the Gateway community.
For anyone over 50, theFlorida Senior Games(flasports.com) state championships and national qualifiers takes place again this year in Lee County (a testament to the work done by Lee County Parks & Rec Department as well as its partners in attracting and keeping the state championships here). Besides the cycling, running, race walking and track and field events there are more than 20 other activities taking place. The River Run 10K is a Senior Games championship event that doesn’t require participants to pre-qualify. That’s also the case for the Senior Games 5K run and race-walk, which takes place on Saturday, Dec. 13, at Rotary Park in south Cape Coral. Track and field events, which are being held at South Fort Myers High School on Dec. 13 and 14, require pre-qualification from a local Senior Games venue (except for international visitors). Like track and field, the cycling events that take place in Cape Coral require pre-qualification (again, except for international visitors) with the time trials being on Tuesday, Dec. 9 and road races on Thursday, Dec. 11. Fort Myers Track Club (ftmyerstrackclub.com) is handling registration and race management for both the 10K and 5K but all other event are being handled by the Florida Sports Foundation (www.flasports.com).
Wait, there’s still more in 2014! Sunday, Dec. 14, is the date ofThe Best Damn Race(capecoralbestdamnrace.com), a newcomer to our area with options of a 5K, half- and full marathon. All begin and end at Cape Harbor. And the final local race of the year isKnights of Charity 10K(3dracinginc.com), which happens on Saturday, Dec. 20, in the Three Oaks neighborhood. Remember too, that training for Lee County’s signature trail race, theRiver, Roots & Ruts Half-Marathon and 5K(rrrtrail.com), which takes place at Caloosahatchee Regional Park in Alva on Sunday, Jan. 11, should be undertaken during the holiday eating season, which should help weight management efforts.
Until next time, I’ll look for you on the roads and pathways.
— Dan Moser is a long- time bicycle/ pedestrian advocate and traffic safety professional who cycles, runs, and walks regularly for transportation, recreation, and fitness. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org 334- 6417.